RICHLAND, Wash. - A federal judge has presided over Washington's Eastern District from the federal courthouse in Richland for decades. However, there is now a newly vacant seat on the federal court due to several retirements.
Now, one local organization is taking action to make sure the Tri-Cities does not lose the presence of that federal judge.
Judge Edward Shea has presided over the U.S. Federal District Court in Richland for years. Now he is moving on to senior status which leaves his seat open.
Recently, the Tri-City Development Council, TRIDEC, sent a letter to our state's congressional leaders detailing their concerns about losing a federal judge.
TRIDEC worries that the judge chosen to replace Judge Shea could be placed in Spokane or Yakima's Federal Court.
There are currently two federal judges sitting in Spokane and one in Yakima. Judge Shea was the only one in Tri-Cities. TRIDEC says Tri-Cities growing population needs a federal judge to hear cases locally.
"The federal judgeship could move to Yakima or Spokane and so we just want to make sure that the eastern district court, federal district court, understands that this community want to maintain a judge here," said TRIDEC President, Carl Adrian.
Adrian says citizens, businesses. and lawyers should not be forced to travel to Yakima or Spokane to go to court.
TRIDEC points out that according to the 2010 census, the population of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area has surpassed Yakima and the growth rate is faster than Spokane.
TRIDEC hopes that presenting these points to our congressional lawmakers will encourage the committee assigned to appointing a new judge to place them in Richland.